Private Social Networks and the Value of True Connection

The head of the Catholic church might seem an unlikely candidate when it comes to people making poignant, interesting comments about social media, but in section 47 of his treatise Laudato Si, Pope Francis has done just that. He writes:

“Real relationships with others, with all the challenges they entail, now tend to be replaced by a type of internet communication which enables us to choose or eliminate relationships at whim, thus giving rise to a new type of contrived emotion which has more to do with devices and displays than with other people and with nature.”

Girls on cellphones

What he hits on is perhaps the biggest problem with the major social networks: they provide a channel for people to connect, but construct it in a way that encourages fleeting, meaningless engagement (see: slacktivism). Brands are often forced to post “clickbait” rather than content that really matters to them, to try and be the one site that people actually click through to while scrolling through the glut of content in their social media channels.

As part of your marketing strategy, it’s crucial to create a space where you can really engage with your customers; one that facilitates real conversation, where they know they can find everything they need to know about your business, ask important questions and be heard. This doesn’t mean abandoning Facebook or Twitter altogether; it’s like going to a big party and choosing to give someone your phone number, rather than trying to have a meaningful conversation over the noise.

One of the major influencing factors when people buy a product, closely following a need or desire for the product offered, is confidence and trust in the brand (credibility). If people feel like you’re willing to put time and effort into talking to them and getting to know them, they’re more likely to choose you – as opposed to a competitor who just posts flashy statuses on a generic social networking site, or regularly posts static content on their website.

If you want to learn more about starting your own social network and how it can benefit your business, signing up for a free PeepSo plugin is a great place to start.